Best practices for sustainable use of common grasslands in the Western Balkans and Europe
SE Europe Round table
Date: 15 April 2013
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Common land management is long-standing feature of farming in SE Europe; traditionally all inhabitants of a settlement had the customary right to use the commons, which made up a significant element in the landscape, especially in the more mountainous areas.
Nowadays two trends are observed in common land management that have a direct impact on biodiversity loss: remote and mountain common grasslands being abandoned by agriculture, while those near the villages are overused or converted to non-agricultural uses.
As society tries to implement policy in rural areas in a more targeted and subtle manner, regulations and support mechanisms have multiplied and increased in their complexity, but the specific problems of common land or the particular problems they pose when implementing more general policies are usually neglected. The impression is often given that making policy measures 'commons-friendly' is an afterthought, putting further pressure on the delivery of public goods in these areas. In the frame of the new policy developments in agriculture and biodiversity conservation it is therefore very important to find the right solutions for securing policy support for the commons of High Nature Value Europe-wide.
The round table gave a forum in which current experiences in the management and governance of common pastures in the Western Balkans were shared, including aspects of best practice from the region and other areas in Europe. Two workshops in the afternoon focused on identifying possible 'next steps' in Bulgaria and in SE Europe.
This idea was initiated within a framework of a project for "Sustainable use of pastures in Bulgaria", funded by GEF SGP in Bulgaria and in discussion with partner NGOs from the Western Balkan countries which share a common history in pastures governance practices. The attendance of non-Bulgarian participants was funded by CEI and by the European Commission through the ESSEDRA project.
- Welcome - Lilia Stoyanova, Simeon Petkov
- Opening remarks - Gwyn Jones
- Albania - Mark Pupa
- Bulgaria - Vyara Stefanova/Yanka Kazakova
- Croatia - Iris Bene
- Macedonia - Suzana Kratovalieva / Tatjana Milcevska
- Montenegro - Milan Marković
- Romania - Laura Sutcliffe
- Serbia - Suzana Milosević
- United Kingdom - Gwyn Jones
Sustainable Commons Management and Policy Support Challenges
- Existing policy support and sustainable management of commons in Europe - Yanka Kazakova
- Lessons learnt from Bulgarian project - Vyara Stefanova
Two parallel discussions:
- Panel 1: Is it necessary to change the legal framework in Bulgaria to ensure sustainable management of commons?
- Panel 2: What is the potential for sustaining the values of common pastures in the Western Balkans - practical steps that could be achieved through regional cooperation?
© by Stanimir Stoychev